Da Best!

Color the eggs, bake the bread, feed me more of the ham I said! Another trip around the sun has brought us back to the most monumental holiday in the Christian religion; Easter. I apologize to the folks who can’t handle me calling it Easter. Pagan religion, fertility goddess, bunnies and eggs equal lot of reproduction; got it. I just so happen to not equate the holiday to any of that unless the bunnies are chocolate and the eggs are painted. If you do then you probably want to avoid it all together because anything not from faith is sin.

Now that I’ve got past the word police I can address the fact that this holiday is the most amazing of any we could celebrate. This is the moment that all humanity must address and decide how it will impact their present and their future. The day that Jesus conquered death and walked out of the tomb. The risen Christ. This is the crescendo of life’s symphony. The cross is foolishness to so many though because they don’t have a foundational concept of creator God.

I heard it explained in such a way as this; America was founded on Christian principles that guided our laws and education system. The bible was taught in school, this was common place. Our society as a whole understood the concept of original sin from the first human Adam bringing death to our entire race through our very nature. We inherit the sin nature because we are of that very same nature; any one of us in the garden under the same circumstances would have eaten from the tree and disobeyed God.

We lack any means to make ourselves righteous no matter how desperately we try. We have more in common with Hitler than Jesus when it comes to righteousness. This is why we need a savior. We tend to minimize God’s eternality. When you sin once against an eternal God the punishment must be eternal for their to be justice. While hell was not created for mankind, it is the only fitting place for us to be sent when we sin against God. Otherwise God would not be a just judge. The equivalent of giving a murderer a two month sentence. It just isn’t right. (Note right and wrong have no bearing if God doesn’t exist)

Our Messiah took that death-blow, that punishment for our sins upon himself on the cross so that we could be reconciled to a relationship with God minus the barrier of sin. He took on our sins and gave us His righteousness. This is the free gift that God offers each of us, to take our place upon the cross and endure God’s wrath.

Now if we put our faith in Jesus and that was the end of the story I suppose we would all thank Him for that enjoy our lives and return to dust at the end of it. This isn’t the end though it is just the beginning. This same Christ that died on the cross for your sins by the power of God was raised from the dead. He conquered the power of death. That same power that raised Him up from the dead will raise us from the dead also. In this we take comfort, in this we take hope. Our loved ones are not gone forever, we are connected to everyone throughout history that has believed in the work of our resurrected Lord on the cross and we will know them all in the life to come. He has promised us that we will live forever with Him and not perish.

That is why this is the most amazing of all the possible holidays in the world. It combines our greatest need (payment of our sin debt to a holy God); with our greatest want. (A life that knows no pain, nor sorrow, nor evil, nor sin, nor ending) This all comes together between the cross and the resurrection. Please, please, please take some time to stop and think on who this man was and what this event means if you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  -Jesus

Foul Weather Friend

Fair weather fans are chided for their lack of dedication when the going gets tough. Is the team down and out? Call them bums and distance yourself until they get on a hot streak. When they start winning again quietly slide back in and claim you had been there the whole time. I want to postulate that we do this in a bit of reverse fashion with God, we are indeed often a “foul weather friend”.

In the book of Luke chapter 17 verses 11-19 there I a story about Jesus healing 10 men of leprosy. When He enters the village they are standing at a distance and cry out to Him for mercy. He tells them to go show themselves to the priests. As the men are on their way to do so they realize they are cleansed of their leprosy. Only one of the ten returns to thank Jesus; the Samaritan.

There are many things we can pull from this story, but I just want to focus on one….nine really. Nine foul weather friends of Jesus. They were all, “Hey buddy take mercy on us; life as a leper is rough.” Jesus being the wonderful God that He is did just that. The only problem was these nine guys never showed back up to say thanks or give Him glory for the miracle He just performed in their life.

How many of us today treat Jesus the same way? Life is hard. I think I have mentioned before that it baffles me how people get through life without the Lord to do the heavy lifting. No wonder so many people are crushed under the weight and turn to all kinds of worldly sources promising relief. We just weren’t designed to handle the effects of sin.

Now to get back on topic, I was describing life without God, but what about those of us who believe in God and choose to live like the nine lepers? Foul weather comes our way, the storms of life begin to rage and we are in great turmoil and despair. “Jesus, have mercy on me; life is so hard and I am so weak, I need Your help.” The Lord steps in and rescues us from our situation. Do we go back and thank Him? Or do we say, “Now that I’m back on my feet and settled I’m ready for whatever comes next.”

We might pay homage to the Lord a time or two, but all to soon we fail to recognize any sort of real need for Him in our life. The adversity we were facing at work is gone, the troubles you were having in your family have gone, the financial pressure you were under has been relieved. The things that were bringing tears and driving you to your knees to call out to God; all the pain and pressure has been removed. Do we shout out praises and thanks or do we go right back to our busy lives now that we don’t have anything tripping us up?

I can only speak for myself and I know far too many times I have found myself in the company of the nine. Let us today decide that we will dive deeper into the free-flowing living waters. Lets make serving God and seeking Him a way of life and not the result of circumstance. If we will prepare our hearts and minds to know Him in the sunshine; He will be our umbrella in the rain.

photo credit: jaci XIII <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/34700343@N08/32653079762″>Rain and wind</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>